Trapped in the Internet’s Liminal Spaces
A long, long time ago (looks like it was 5 years ago), I used to visit Product Hunt a great deal, on a daily basis. Back then, I happened across a website/service called AM by Astronaute that sent along motivational emails to your Inbox each morning. I was taken with the idea, and decided to sign up.
Things went well for a while, and I enjoyed the daily emails. They weren’t all winners, but I liked it enough that I opted to just keep receiving them each day. I kind of got used to them arriving in my Inbox every morning. There were repeats now and then, but I was mostly fine with it.
I don’t know when it happened, maybe a year or two (or more) ago… but the emails just abruptly stopped. I figured the company folded or pivoted, or something happened. No big thing.
And then… some time over the last year, the emails started up again.
Only now – the emails are all jacked up. No actual quotations (which were images stored on a server or AWS bucket somewhere), no photos, no nothing. A lot of broken references. An email that is even more worthless than your standard, every day email.
And the kicker? There’s no way for me to unsubscribe.
On clicking the “Unsubscribe” link, I’m taken to a placeholder page, as it looks like the original owners let the domain expire.
So somewhere, somehow, the logic around these emails continues to churn out message after message. And they arrive in my Inbox. But the messages themselves are broken and malformed. And there’s no way for me to stop this process.
The project seems to have been long abandoned, but the rules and logic and infrastructure around the project’s inception seems to continue, unabated.
And so I get my emails. And so I get my promise of motivation, without any actual message or motivation.
A few months ago, I learned about liminal spaces. I’m not sure if that’s what you’d call this experience of mine, but it sure seems like a kind of Internet liminal space.
It’s gotten me thinking now: should I pass away and leave this mortal plane… how long will my Twitter bots survive? How long can they continue posting their thoughts, absence any code changes and updates? How many versions of the Twitter API can they withstand?
Ghosts at the Museum
An Empty Room of One’s Own
Villanelle Bot: Poems in the Villanelle Form, Created Using Random Posts from Twitter
Desire Bot: A Twitter Bot That Re-Posts What the World Wants
The Ghosts of Things